After discussing the features and prevalence of transnational fraud against the elderly, notably through contacts on social media, this article discusses cyber investigations into elder abuse, case stories, and available resources.
With the increase in older Americans, and with more of them using the internet and social media sites, the elder fraud victim pool has increased greatly over the past few years, enabling cyber criminals to drain the savings of persons who are often isolated or lonely. Many of these perpetrators are working their scams from another country, making this type of elder fraud more difficult to investigate. Six Transnational Elder Fraud Strike Force districts based on U.S. Attorney districts were created by the U.S. Justice Department to encourage collaboration among state and local law enforcement, the U.S. Department of Justice’s Consumer Protection Branch, federal U.S. Attorney districts, the FBI, and the U.S. Postal Service. Reporting these types of crimes to the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is an important step to help reduce financial fraud by increasing the amount of information that is known about these crimes and criminals. Early reporting also increases, in some cases, the chance of recovering the victim’s funds. The U.S. Department of Justice’s National Elder Fraud Hotline, which is managed by the Office for Victims of Crime, is available to provide services to all adults ages 60 and older who may be victims of elder fraud. (publisher abstract modified)